Common problems with two-step verification for a work or school account (2024)

There are some common two-step verification problems that seem to happen more frequently than any of us would like. We've put together this article to describe fixes for the most common problems.

Your Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) organization can turn on two-step verification for your account. When two-step verification is on, your account sign-in requires a combination of the following data:

  • Your user name

  • Your password

  • A mobile device or phone

Two-step verification is more secure than just a password, because two-step verification requires something youknowplus something youhave. No hacker has your physical phone.

Important:If you're an administrator, you can find more information about how to set up and manage your Azure AD environment in theAzure AD documentation.

This content can help you with your work or school account, which is the account provided to you by your organization (for example, If you're having problems with two-step verification on a personal Microsoft account, which is an account that you set up for yourself (for example,, seeTurning two-stepverification on or off for your Microsoft account.

I don't have my mobile device with me

It happens. You left your mobile device at home, and now you can't use your phone to verify who you are. Maybe you previously added an alternative method to sign in to your account, such as through your office phone. If so, you can use this alternative method now. If you never added an alternative verification method, you can contact your organization's Help desk for assistance.

  1. If you don't see theSign in another waylink, it means that you haven't set up any other verification methods. You'll have to contact your administrator for help signing into your account.

  2. Choose your alternative verification method, and continue with the two-step verification process.

I can't turn two-step verification off

  • If you're using two-step verification with a personal account for a Microsoft service, like, you canturn the feature on and off.

  • If you're using two-step verification with your work or school account, it most likely means that your organization has decided you must use this added security feature. There is no way for you to individually turn it off.

  • If you can't turn off two-stepverification, it could also be because of the security defaults that have been applied at the organization level. For more information about security defaults, seeWhat are security defaults?

My device was lost or stolen

If you've lost or had your mobile device stolen, you can take either of the following actions:

  • Sign in using a different method.

  • Ask your organization's Help desk to clear your settings.

We strongly recommend letting your organization's Help desk know if your phone was lost or stolen. The Help desk can make the appropriate updates to your account. After your settings are cleared, you'll be prompted toregister for two-factor verificationthe next time you sign in.

I can't sign in after multiple attempts

Azure MFA detects unusual activity like repeated sign-in attempts, and may prevent additional attempts to counter security threats. If you've mistakenly made many sign-in attempts, wait until you can try again, or use a different MFA method for sign-in. If you suspect someone else is trying to access your account, contact your administrator. The error could be caused by malicious activity, misconfigured MFA settings, or other factors. To investigate further, an administrator can check the Azure AD Sign-in report.

I'm not receiving the verification code sent to my mobile device

Not receiving your verification code is a common problem. The problem is typically related to your mobile device and its settings. Here are some suggestions that you can try.



Use the Microsoft authenticator app or Verification codes

You are getting “You've hit our limit on verification calls” or “You’ve hit our limit on text verification codes” error messages during sign-in.

Microsoft may limit repeated authentication attempts that are perform by the same user in a short period of time. This limitation does not apply to the Microsoft Authenticator or verification code. If you have hit these limits, you can use the Authenticator App, verification code or try to sign in again in a few minutes.

You are getting "Sorry, we're having trouble verifying your account" error message during sign-in.

Microsoft may limit or block voice or SMS authentication attempts that are performed by the same user, phone number, or organization due to high number of failed voice or SMS authentication attempts. If you are experiencing this error, you can try another method, such as Authenticator App or verification code, or reach out to your admin for support.

Restart your mobile device

Sometimes your device just needs a refresh. When you restart your device, all background processes and services are ended. The restart also shuts down the core components of your device. Any service or component is refreshed when you restart your device.

Verify that your security information is correct

Make sure your security verification method information is accurate, especially your phone numbers. If you put in the wrong phone number, all of your alerts will go to that incorrect number. Fortunately, that user won't be able to do anything with the alerts, but it also won't help you sign in to your account. To make sure your information is correct, see the instructions in theManage your two-factor verification method settingsarticle.

Verify that your notifications are turned on

Make sure your mobile device has notifications turned on. Ensure the following notification modes are allowed:

  • Phone calls

  • Your authentication app

  • Your text messaging app

Ensure these modes create an alert that isvisibleon your device.

Make sure you have a device signal and Internet connection

Make sure your phone calls and text messages are getting through to your mobile device. Have a friend call you and send you a text message to make sure you receive both. If you don't receive the call or text, first check to make sure your mobile device is turned on. If your device is turned on, but you're still not receiving the call or text, there's probably a problem with your network. You'll need to talk to your provider. If you often have signal-related problems, we recommend you install and use theMicrosoft Authenticator appon your mobile device. The authenticator app can generate random security codes for sign-in, without requiring any cell signal or Internet connection.

Turn off Do not disturb

Make sure you haven't turned on theDo not disturbfeature for your mobile device. When this feature is turned on, notifications aren't allowed to alert you on your mobile device. Refer to your mobile device's manual for instructions about how to turn off this feature.

Unblock phone numbers

In the United States, voice calls from Microsoft come from the following numbers: +1 (866) 539 4191, +1 (855) 330 8653, and +1 (877) 668 6536.

Check your battery-related settings

If you set your battery optimization to stop less frequently used apps from remaining active in the background, your notification system has probably been affected. Try turning off battery optimization for both your authentication app and your messaging app. Then try to sign in to your account again.

Disable third-party security apps

Some phone security apps block text messages and phone calls from annoying unknown callers. A security app might prevent your phone from receiving the verification code. Try disabling any third-party security apps on your phone, and then request that another verification code be sent.

I'm not being prompted for my second verification information

You sign in to your work or school account by using your user name and password. Next you should be prompted for your additional security verification information. If you are not prompted, maybe you haven't yet set up your device. Your mobile device must be set up to work with your specific additional security verification method.

Maybe you haven't set up your device yet. Your mobile device has to be set up to work with your specific additional security verification method. For the steps to make your mobile device available to use with your verification method, seeManage your two-factor verification method settings. If you know that you haven't set up your device or your account yet, you can follow the steps in theSet up my account for two-step verificationarticle.

I have a new phone number and I want to add it

If you have a new phone number, you'll need to update your security verification method details. This enables your verification prompts to go to the right location. To update your verification method, follow the steps in theAdd or change your phone numbersection of theManage your two-factor verification method settingsarticle.

I have a new mobile device and I want to add it

If you have a new mobile device, you'll need to set it up to work with two-factor verification. This is a multi-step solution:

  1. Set up your device to work with your account by following the steps in theSet up my account for two-step verificationarticle.

  2. Update your account and device information in theAdditional security verificationpage. Perform the update by deleting your old device and adding your new one. For more information, see theManage your two-factor verification method settingsarticle.

Optional steps:

  1. Install the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device by following the steps in theDownload and install the Microsoft Authenticator apparticle.

  2. Turn on two-factor verification for your trusted devices by following the steps in theTurn on two-factor verificationprompts on a trusted devicesection of theManage your two-factor verification method settingsarticle.

I'm having problems signing in on my mobile device while traveling

You might find it more difficult to use a mobile device-related verification method, like a text messaging, while you're in an international location. It's also possible that your mobile device can cause you to incur roaming charges. For this situation, we recommend you use the Microsoft Authenticator app, with the option to connect to a Wi-Fi hot spot. For more information about how to set up the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device, see theDownload and install the Microsoft Authenticator apparticle.

I can't get my app passwords to work

App passwords replace your normal password for older desktop applications that don't support two-factor verification. First, make sure you typed the password correctly. If that doesn't fix it, try creating a new app password for the app. Do this by creating theapp passwords using the My Apps portalas described inManage app passwords for two-step verification.

I didn't find an answer to my problem

If you've tried these steps but are still running into problems, contact your organization's Help desk for assistance.

Tip:If you're a small business owner looking for more information on how to get Microsoft 365 set up, visit .

Recommended articles

Manage your two-factor verification method and settings

Turning two-step verification on or off for your Microsoft account

Set up password reset verification for a work or school account

Install and use the Microsoft Authenticator app

Check that Windows is activated

Common problems with two-step verification for a work or school account (2024)


What are some of the problems of 2FA? ›

The primary vulnerability of current 2FA methods is their dependency on device authentication rather than true identity authentication, so any solution that promises to improve this mechanism must help machines better discern true human identities.

Why is two-step verification not working? ›

It may be because the time isn't correctly synced on your Google Authenticator app. On the next screen, the app confirms the time has been synced. You should be able to sign in. The sync will only affect the internal time of your Google Authenticator app, and will not change your device's Date & Time settings.

How to solve two-factor authentication problem? ›

Authenticator apps rely on the time set on your device to create the authentication code. If the time on your device does not match the time on your computer then the code will not work. Check the time and date on your phone and make sure they match the computer or device you are logging in from.

Why authentication failed when signing in using 2-step verification? ›

Answer: If you are receiving an error that your 2-Step Authentication failed, there is a chance that the authenticator you are using has become desynchronized with the 2-Step Verification service. On Android using Google Authenticator: Go to the main menu on the Google Authenticator app. Select Settings.

What are the weaknesses of 2FA? ›

2FA can be vulnerable to several attacks from hackers because a user can accidentally approve access to a request issued by a hacker without acknowledging it.

What are the flaws of 2FA? ›

2FA, and multi-factor authentication as a whole, is a reliable and effective system for blocking unauthorized access. It still, however, has some downsides. These include: Increased login time – Users must go through an extra step to login into an application, adding time to the login process.

What is better than 2-step verification? ›

MFA is more secure than 2FA. But many companies still use 2FA for two reasons. One, it's cheaper and easier to setup. Most software suites support 2FA, but not all of them support MFA.

What happens if 2-step verification is off? ›

Your account is more secure when you need a password and a verification code to sign in. If you remove this extra layer of security, you will only be asked for a password when you sign in. It might be easier for someone to break into your account.

What is required for two-step verification? ›

About two-step verification or two-step authentication

It uses two different forms of identity: your password, and a contact method (also known as security info).

How do I fix my authenticator problem? ›

Troubleshooting Microsoft Authenticator App on Android & iPhone
  1. 1 Turn on push notifications.
  2. 2 Restart your phone.
  3. 3 Update the app and your phone.
  4. 4 Check your internet connection.
  5. 5 Enable location services.
  6. 6 Disable your VPN.
  7. 7 Turn off Battery Optimization (Android).
Dec 4, 2023

Can two-factor authentication be turned off? ›

If you're already using two-factor authentication with your Apple ID, you can't turn it off. If you updated to two-factor authentication inadvertently, you can turn it off within two weeks of enrollment. If you do, your account is less secure and you can't use features that require a higher level of security.

What happens if I lose my two-factor authentication? ›

Yes, you can! If you've lost access to your 2FA device, you can recover your account by using backup codes, alternative recovery options like a secondary email or phone number, or by contacting customer support. Be ready to confirm your identity by answering a few security questions or providing proof of ID.

Why do I keep getting authentication failed? ›

This could mean that your device is using the wrong security protocol, the network name the device is using doesn't match the network, or the device and router encryption settings are incompatible.

How do I overcome authentication error? ›

If you trust the WiFi account and you want to get connected, try these six steps:
  1. Forget the network. ...
  2. Check your password. ...
  3. Refresh your device. ...
  4. Change your network from DHCP to Static. ...
  5. Restart your router. ...
  6. Head back to factory settings.
Feb 28, 2024

How do I fix user authentication failed? ›

I get a message that says “Authentication failed”
  1. Make sure that you are connected to the Internet, or to a local area network.
  2. Make sure that you have registered an account with the service you are trying to connect to. ...
  3. Click the. ...
  4. Type your username and password again to make sure that they are correct.

What are the threats to 2FA? ›

2FA Code Access

This may occur as email or text phishing or even voice phishing (vishing). The threat actor may pose as a trustworthy or authoritative figure, such as a phone carrier, asking for the mobile code that's been sent to your phone.

What are the risks of multi factor authentication? ›

One of the biggest problems with MFA is that it can be hacked. As seen in the last section, SMS and voice-based one-time passwords (OTPs) are incredibly vulnerable to phishing attacks, as they can easily be intercepted by a malicious actor.

Why is 2FA no longer safe? ›

Even if the user doesn't respond to a push login request or doesn't enter a One-Time Password (OTP) when prompted, a hacker still knows they have a working password now; how, because the delay for the denied message takes longer... Most of us know where this is going; the hacker is persistent in their login attempts.

What threats does 2FA address? ›

2FA protects against phishing, social engineering and password brute-force attacks and secures your logins from attackers exploiting weak or stolen credentials. This dramatically improves the security of login attempts.


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